March 4, 2014
Blazing Show, SQ capable of being made right
This isn't a show that needs to grow into itself, and the ripping Jack Straw proves by achieving X after much early sizzling guitar. Nestled between a watery Candyman and a serious Loser, we get a heavy Minglewood. Loser leaves no cards on that table with a nice crash down. The cowboy medley is like wild stallions on the Great Plains as Jerry makes polka serious with his work in Mexicali. After a decent Ramble On Rose we get a wonderful set ending in Let It Grow. Descending chords and lightning scales bookend the set with X factor.
Gimme Some Lovin' is an unorthodox 2nd set opener, and it leaves no doubt they mean business this Spring night in Hampton. The bass, boards, and vox are are emphatic. Out of this they go directly into the 6th ever rendition of Black Muddy River which holds up quite well. PITB is a powerhouse, Jerry starts the jam with high gain, then switches down suddenly. He varies between noodles and more meaningful riffs. He switches the gain back on near the end of the jam, and in time for Terrapin. 87 being one of the 3 Years of the Turtle in my estimation, this one again brings the X in the short, yet seriously crunchy Terrapin ending jam
Mr Fantasy dreamily drifts out from a nice space. Jerry makes it snappy in his solos. After having their fantasies come true they stumble in, punch drunk, to a fantastic Wharf Rat with tons of gain and a massive descending chord change fury. NFA is another Jerry delight/Bobby self-indulgent vocals exposition, with a somber Brokedown sending everyone home to dream of that Mr Fantasy.
The first set is bookended by X factor and there really isn't a down spot as Jerry is fully on. The second set keeps the energy nicely all the way through, with the unexpected opening 2 songs working nicely with the old faithfuls into drums. Don't miss out on this (mr) fantasy of a show.
C, adjustable to A! To get the best out of this Healy Ultramatrix, one of the few from the Spring 87 East Coast Tour that is listenable, turn Phil pretty far down as he otherwise saturates. You get tons of crowds energy and everyone can be heard evenly with a Lazy Left-side W.
September 25, 2012
Top Ten for 1987 !!
Well I've been listening to this Spring run pretty heavily lately, and I must say it's a tough pick.A lot of strong shows.
3/22 - the first night at Hampton and a real scorching 1st Set.
4/4 - Playin, Hand Jive and a monster Morning Dew,
plus a rare 2nd set Comes a Time.
4/6 - a good show, but the Tons of Steel in Set Two (before Drums!) kills it for me.
and a few others......
But when I started up this show, I knew from the Jack Straw opener that this one was likely a winner.
For those whose memory of the 80's has, let's say faded a bit into the mists of mind - I want to first put these shows at Hampton in perspective.
This was the first post-coma tour on the East coast, so the crowd in VA was really psyched to say the least. And from the sound of it, so was the band.
Now, these 3 shows suffer from a less than stellar
SBD quality, actually they are Healey Matrix SBD's and so you get a huge dose of the audience, which is a good thing here, because the energy and love of the crowd is right there.
However, Jerry seems to be a bit low in the mix on both 3/22 and this one. Not too bad, but you wish Jerry was 1 or 2 notches louder.
That being said, the sound quality certainly doesn't distract from my fun at hearing this fine, fine show. What incredible playing!! Hard to believe that 6 months earlier, Jerry was re-learning how to play the guitar???!!!
Is there any doubt the man was a musical genius?
Maybe they were a bit nervous on 3/22, because tonight, the closing night, they seem to throw all caution to the wind and just play their collective ass off.
1987, but it sounds like 1977??
Well, at least from the set list. Except for Mr. Fantasy and Black Muddy - you could easily call this a 1977 show. The whole 1st set is all 1977 tunes.
Jack Straw and Candyman really set the tone right away. Minglewood is blazing, crunchy and Jerry delivers a killer solo. Loser has a relaxed feel, and Brent's organ gives the song an extra layer of texture that Keith couldn't. Jerry's tone here is big and fuzzy, with Phil dropping a few bombs.
Wow, they already sound like the second set!!
A fast hot Mama Tried lightens the mood, ditto the Mexicali - Jerry proves he can still pick.
Ramble On continues what you might call a "theme" first set. The Outlaw theme? The Wandering Stranger theme? Something like that. The Drums really pound this one out, and nice piano work by Brent.
What a great set list, you just know they're gonna have to end it with something special. So they crank up a Let it Grow at full speed with Drums full of thunder. They unleash Garcia at 2:40 and he wails and soars like Santana on steroids. Blazing fingers in a blur of notes.
Whoah Jerry, you have another set to play later!!
Save something left, hah.
Altogether a tight, together first set. As well played as you could want for 1987.
Gimme Lovin is a welcome surprise that sets this show apart, as is Muddy River. Normally a Muddy River BEFORE Drums would suggest a bring down of the energy. But not here. It helps set up what I feel to be the theme of Set Two - mythical, death/rebirth visionary redemption theme. If that makes sense?? Terrapin, Wharf Rat, Muddy River, even Mr. Fantasy - not happy songs, but not negative either. Pathos, yes. Suffering, yes. But also hope and light. Will you board the train?
Is it the end or beginning?
Jerry's voice on River is just perfect. He sounds like a man reborn, which .........
Playin delivers what we need next - a trippy ride that takes us to the Station. A fairly mellow jam that stays on one motif pretty much. Then come the "magic chords" and the crowd goes bonkers.
Everything comes together with this version -
the vocals, the harmonies, the Drums, the crowd.
And the whole thing just builds and builds, louder and louder until the roof comes off. This ain't your kid sister's Terrapin folks. They mean it tonight. Jerry's fuzz tone glows right through your speakers like a tube amp on overdrive.
One of the best versions in the 80's, hands down.
Space is rather subdued, mostly echoey riffs from
Garcia. A nice chance to catch up with your brain.
Mr. Fantasy enters with a whisper, Brent takes solo center stage. Then the Drums break open the gates and Jerry lights the fireworks, the notes leaping, growling, howling. Wharf Rat is pure poetry. Only Tom Waits could sing this better. Featuring rattle your bones organ work, heavenly hosts of funky angels, and a guitar set on "eleven". If this doesn't give you goose bumps, it's time to join AARP.
NFA and Brokedown end the show in style, with no dumb 80's songs. Brokedown in particular, was a message no doubt from Jerry to the East coast, that the trip WAS gonna continue and that he was back in the driver's seat.
A very powerful show for more reasons than one.
Heartily recommended !!
Dr. Flashback :-)
January 17, 2009
Jerry Back on the East Coast!!
Being the third night of a three show run, people were beginning to look a little beat this night. Fortunately, the band decided to break out what was by far the most lifting Terrapin Station I have ever heard or heard of. The crowd was going absolutely nuts....like I had never seen before. Each time you thought it was over, they came back around again. Part of "years melt into a dream" is the general blurriness of it all, and then the vivid moments that are forever seared into our minds. This Terrapin is one of them!